Posts Tagged ‘action, movies, movie reviews, whaling, Moby Dick, Chris Hemsworth’

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REPOST: Return of the living (brain) dead franchise: Resident Evil: Retribution”

January 31, 2017

[In preparation for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter I thought I’d repost some of my reviews of earlier installments…you know, so you’re all caught up on the labyrinthine mythology of this series.]

Well, it’s September, and every couple of Septembers the horks up a cinematic hairball in the form of yet another Resident Evil movie. It’s sort of Hollywood’s way of closing the summer by reminding us that it really doesn’t like us. It’s saying, in effect, “Hey, remember all those great mega-blockbusters we pummeled you with this summer? Yeah, those were great. Now, here’s Resident Evil: Retribution. Don’t feel too compelled to rush out and see it.” Of course, that’s not what they tell writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson. No, they tell him, “Oh yeah…your movies rock. That’s why we release them in September: we don’t want to totally bury stuff like The Dark Knight Rises and wreck the economy. Now, um, can you make your wife’s outfit any tighter and still have her breathe? Cool, thanks.”
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REPOST: Milla Jovovich (and husband) will eat your brain! “Resident Evil: Afterlife”

January 31, 2017

[In preparation for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter I thought I’d repost some of my reviews of earlier installments…you know, so you’re all caught up on the labyrinthine mythology of this series.]

Arriving like a MOAB to cap off the summer movie season is Resident Evil: Afterlife—a movie that flaunts its B-status and boldly announces that it has no time being bogged down with pesky details like logic or coherency or even the laws of physics. Such things are for wussies, not for ass-kicking Milla Jovovich! What? You want gravity to affect people and objects? Go see a Bergman film. This is a Resident freakin’ Evil movie, where it’s perfectly normal for someone leaping through the air to stop and pivot. That shit just happens! Getting all pissy about suspending your disbelief when a waif-like heroine wields a machine gun one-handed? Hey, go back to the Ivy League, Mr. Hoity Toity! We’re here to see a hot chick kill zombies, and that’s it. If you feel a tingly sensation in your skull, that’s okay, that’s normal. It’s just your brain going to sleep. Or dying. But, hey, no biggie. It’s not like you’re going to need it for the next 90 minutes or so.
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License Renewed: “Spectre”

November 11, 2015

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If you’ve followed this blog even casually, you know that I’m a James Bond superfan and roundly consider the Daniel Craig installments to be a human achievement roughly on par with the pyramids, Hoover Dam, and, well, democracy. And you would be right to assume that I might not be the most impartial of critics when it comes to James Bond movies. I will admit that if Spectre, the 24 entry in the James Bond franchise, consisted of nothing but 120 minutes of Daniel Craig reading aloud from a Nicolas Sparks novel and punching a dolphin in the face I’d probably leave the theater thinking, Well that was a bold direction to take the character and then immediately buy the limited edition Omega watch.

Still, I’d like to think my love for the franchise also gives me a keen sense of what should and should not be in a Bond movie. And Spectre pretty much gives us mostly the former with a little of the latter.

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REPOST: “Quantum of Solace”

November 11, 2015

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“The job is done, and the bitch is dead.”

Those words—Bond’s penultimate line of dialogue from Casino Royale– provide the engine for Quantum of Solace. The 22nd film in the franchise follows James Bond on a mission of vengence for the death of his lover Vesper Lynd, but also one of forgiveness and personal rehabilitation. Throughout the film, Bond seems to be desperately trying to believe those words, and finally contending with the emotional consequences when he can’t. In the end director Marc Forster uses that engine to deliver a fast, flawed, and occasionally frustrating movie, but ultimately the most fascinating addition to the James Bond canon.
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Son of a gun, gonna have big fun down at the bayou: “No Mercy”

October 27, 2015

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I think in the 1980s there was some kind of an epidemic of partners being murdered. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the only reason any homicides were solved at all in the ‘80s was because a cop’s partner was the victim. Like, 90% of the police work being done was in service of avenging a partner. Fortunately, avenging one’s partner allows for some pretty wide latitude (stealing from undercover FBI agents, invading Japan, etc.) In this, 1986’s No Mercy is a pretty straightforward example of the genre, notable only for its leads and the respective trajectories of their careers.
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Arliss Howard also pwns! “Plain Clothes”

October 14, 2015

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This is the latest in my “pwns!” series in which I extol the virtues of under-recognized or under-appreciated actors. Previous installments covered Stephen McHattie and Bob Hoskins.

And now for a different Seattle cop story…

I suppose I’ve been seeing Arliss Howard in stuff for decades, but I never really noticed him until his amazing turn as the ice-blooded former spook Kale Ingram in the late, lamented Rubicon. With his laid-back style and flatter-than-the-topography-of-Illinois Midwestern accent, Howard manages to simultaneously anchor and enliven any scene he’s in. So when I discovered he starred in a little-seen 1987 comedy about a detective that goes undercover in a suburban high school, well, I don’t know what deity I need to make a pagan offering to, but this goat’s sure not gonna sacrifice itself.

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Maybe he should have ridden into that sunset a little earlier: “McQ”

October 14, 2015

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So, here’s an obscure little artifact: a gritty ‘70s urban thriller called McQ starring John Wayne. Never heard of it? Well, don’t fret. You don’t exactly having a gaping chasm in your cinematic knowledge base. I mean, there’s a reason why when you think of John Wayne’s iconic roles, the irascible Seattle PD Lieutenant Lon McQ doesn’t exactly leap to mind. A big part of that is because this movie sunk without a trace from the cultural landscape. And a big part of that is because when I say “irascible” what I mean is “seemingly irritated to be there.”
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